What Type of Exercise is Right For You?

Did you know there are four types of exercise? They are endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Try performing exercises and training in each of these categories to maximize the benefits to your health. Different forms of exercise fall into each of these four categories. It is important to select a few exercises from each group that you enjoy performing and add them to your workout routine. Slowly build each exercise type up over time to continue progressing and improving your health. Learn what type of exercise right for you.


Endurance exercise increases your heart rate and breath for an extended period. Improve your endurance by performing any activity such as walking or biking for increasing amounts of time. At the gym, use equipment, such as the treadmill, bike, elliptical, stair climber, or rowing machine. A Physical Therapist or Personal Trainer can help get you started at the appropriate level and piece of equipment when beginning to exercise. Over time, aim to increase the duration of exercise. If you would prefer to not be at a gym, you can perform endurance activities at home. Take a walk outside in the neighborhood, walk up and down the driveway, or plan a bike ride. For those who have access to home gym equipment, you can use the same machines you would at the gym.


Strength training is important as you age. After the age of 30, humans typically lose up to 8% of muscle strength every decade. Strength training can be simple and does not require big, expensive gym equipment, since anything that works our muscles is considered strength training. At the gym, you can perform strength training using the cable machines for rows, bench press, and leg press. Aim to perform strength exercises for three sets of 10 repetitions. It is always safer to start at a smaller weight and build upon it. At home, perform step-ups on the stairs, perform sit-to-stands from a stable chair, and standing kicks straight back and to the side from a countertop. These are all great ways to build strength at home without the need for weights. 


Balance can be performed both at home, as well as, at any gym. At home, use the kitchen table, countertop, or the back of a chair to help steady yourself with the exercises. Have a stable surface to place your hands on if necessary. Some balance positions to try are feet together, right foot directly in front of the left foot, and left foot directly in front of the right foot. It is also important to be able to balance with your eyes open. Once that becomes easier, working on full hand support, three-finger support, one finger support, to no hands-on our stable surface. The same balance exercises can be performed at a fitness center using a mirror and a stable surface.


Flexibility is a synonym for stretching. Stretching can be performed anywhere, anytime. The focus should be placed on tight muscle groups or body regions to ensure maximal flexibility. Some days, it may be important to stretch out the neck muscles and posture muscles from working at a desk. These muscles could be levator scapulae, upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, and scalenes. The next day you may focus on hip muscles such as the psoas, piriformis, hip abductors, hip adductors, and glutes. To become more flexible, all you need is a few minutes and some open space to move.

Developing the correct percentage for each exercise category that is right for your body can take some work. By working with a trained professional, whether that be a Physical Therapist or a Trainer, they can help develop the right plan for your body’s needs. The great thing about exercise is that it can be adapted to meet your current and ever-changing needs. If you are looking to find a better fitness program or just to begin one, set up an appointment with one of our skilled Physical Therapists or Personal Trainers. They look forward to helping you meet your fitness goals. 

Joe has a passion for treating the overhead athlete and ensuring safe movement patterns for these individuals. He spends his off time coaching and working with baseball athletes through STiKS Baseball Academy in Waukesha. He also coaches the varsity baseball team at Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha.